Having Confidence in Yourself

One of the hardest parts of being an aspiring writer is learning to trust yourself and your abilities. Sometimes, you can go for weeks, months, even years without getting the kind of positive feedback we crave, like a request for a partial manuscript (better yet, a full), winning contests, etc.

We can’t always rely on critique partners to bolster our flagging confidence, either, although mine are admittedly awesome and I do generally feel like a better writer after hanging around with them.

But I think that ultimately, the primary voice we need to listen to is our own.

Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.

In high school, I once attended a Junior Science and Humanities Symposium in the state capitol. My roommate and I had a lot of fun at the three day event, especially since, as girls, we were drastically outnumbered by smart boys. For the most part, I followed my roommate around and enjoyed the fruits of her outgoing personality: she was pretty, funny, and dynamic and there were always a lot of boys around her.

After I got home, however, I got a call from one of the boys who’d been following us around at the conference. He wanted to know if I’d go out with him. Of course I was flattered, but as someone who didn’t date a lot in high school, I couldn’t help wondering if this poor boy had, perhaps, gotten my name confused with my erstwhile roommate. (I was immensely relieved, when he showed up, to find that he wasn’t surprised to see me at the door.)

(note: This isn’t me, though the girl looks strangely like me in high school. Maybe a 50-year doppleganger?)

So what does this story have to do with writing? On Monday I posted a little about participating in PitchMadness. One of the agent requests was for a flattering full manuscript–but I have to admit that my very first thought was: is she sure she wants mine? Maybe she got it confused with a different manuscript. Of course, this attitude doesn’t do justice to either myself or to the agent. Of course she wants mine–she’s a professional, and I worked hard to make my entry the best I could.

So, my new goal is to have a little more faith in myself. After all, if I don’t believe in myself and my book–why should I expect anyone else too?

What do you do when your faith in yourself and/or your writing is challenged?

3 thoughts on “Having Confidence in Yourself

  1. I'm still working on that whole having faith in yourself thing. Most of the feedback I get at this point is negative, but through some handwork it will one day change. I'm much too stubborn to give up. 🙂

    Congrats on the full manuscript request! Best of luck!


  2. Hmmmm….what do I do? Um….make brownies? 🙂

    And, sheesh, girl! How can you not have faith in yourself when it's obvious to everyone around you how incredibly talented you are?! No, I know. I totally understand. It doesn't matter how many times other people say “Your writing is great!” if you don't believe it yourself.

    It's just too easy to get down on ourselves, right? But I agree, if we don't believe we can do it, no one else will either.


  3. @ M.R. Buttars–thank you!

    @Erin: you're very sweet–thank you. But I think it's always hard to see our own talents when we see our flaws so well.


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